Oscar-nominated actor Daniel Kaluuya, who is best known for his role in “Get Out” and for playing W’Kabi in “Black Panther,” said he’s bored of talking about race and doesn’t want to be defined by it, the Independent reported.
“I’m not going to ignore that I’m surrounded by (racial issues), but I’m not defined by it,” the 30-year-old said in an interview with Radio Times. “I’m just Daniel, who happens to be black.”
Kaluuya is starring as Fred Hampton, head of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party, in Shaka King’s upcoming biographical drama. The Warner Bros. movie is expected to be released Aug. 21, 2020. Hampton founded the Rainbow Coalition and worked to end infighting among street gangs. He was deemed a threat by the FBI.
This year’s Oscar nominations were criticized for having too few Black actors and artists of color, but Kaluuya said he doesn’t want to have to become a spokesperson for black actors. “What is there to talk about race?” he said. “It’s just boring to me. What’s the debate? I’m more of a doer. I’m just going to do what I want to do.”
He hasn’t always been “the race guy” in his roles, Kaluuya said, referring to film and TV roles that he said had nothing to do with race or racial tension.
“’The Fades’ ain’t about race, ‘Psychoville’ ain’t about race, ‘Skins’ ain’t about race, ‘Chatroom’ ain’t about race,’ Johnny English Reborn’ ain’t about race. But that almost gets erased. There’s a narrative that is pushed,” he said.
However, race was the foundation of the horror show “Get Out”, which explores what happens when an African American man meets his white girlfriend’s family. In his latest film, “Queen & Slim,” he stars with Jodie Turner-Smith as a couple who go on the run after a Tinder date involving a cop goes horribly wrong.
Kaluuya was featured recently in Amelia Dimoldenberg’s “Chicken Shop Dates“, a British YouTube interview series with a cult following (11 million-plus views) that awkwardly combines romance and fried chicken.
On the dates, the poker-faced Dimoldenberg eats chicken and flirts “with some of the brightest names in UK grime and rap.”
That interview prompted this tweet from Malik Speaks: “He said he’s tired of discussing race, but does things like this. Nothing wrong with dating outside your race, but as a celebrity in the public eye expect fans to ask about the big elephant in the room.”
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Kaluuya said previously that he started doing more American movies when he felt he wasn’t getting roles in England because of the color of his skin, NME reported.
“I’m not a spokesperson; I’m an individual,” Kaluuya told Radio Times, according to the Independent.
“Who’s the spokesperson for white people? There isn’t one. No one’s expected to speak up for all white people. I’m just living my life. I’m a black man, I’m proud of it, but I’m just living my life.”
#ADOS co-founder Yvette Carnell called out Kaluuya’s seeming conflict on Twitter.
“So this guy takes #ADOS roles centered on race, but doesn’t want the responsibility of race? How does the actor in the Fred Hampton movie want to be raceless? Tell Kaluuya go audition for other kinds of roles. Go compete w/ Bradley Cooper. Leave us be,” Carnell tweeted @BreakingBrown.
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